Eastside Cool Mommies, a Redmond-based organization for mothers, is miffed at the Kirkland Branch of the King County Library System, saying it was turned down from booking the library public meeting room. KCLS officials say the group’s event does not fit with library policy.
Gia Parsons, who tried to book the Kirkland meeting room for March for Eastside Cool Mommies, said she was told by the library staff that “they are 'cracking down' on meeting room use by private groups, mommy groups included.
The main issues appears to be whether the group was allowing the public into the meeting, which library policy requires.
“They did not give me a specific reason but stated that there was a high demand for room use,” Parsons wrote Patch in an email. She added that she has never turned down anyone who has asked to join or asked questions.
“That just doesn’t seem to happen,” said Christine Livingston, managing librarian for the Kirkland branch. “In the past we’ve had children wander in and be told it’s only for that group, and the groups have that right to say who will attend their events, but it’s not appropriate for the library’s public meeting rooms; those have to be open to everyone.”
“This is a great group; it isn’t about favoring one group over another,” Livingston said. “It’s that this group’s events are not open to the general public.”
Livingston also said the public rooms are in great demand, and a look at the near-filled schedules for the public meeting rooms at the Kirkland and bear her out, being nearly booked. Woodinville’s meeting room is about to close for renovation.
Eastside Cool Mommies is open to all mothers, according to its website, but to attend a club event, participants must join the group. Club events are only shown on the website to members.
Livingston suggests private groups, including mommy groups, would be better served by checking with their local parks and recreations departments.
Here is the KCLS policy in its entirety:
Meeting Room Use Policy
If you need to schedule a room with 72 hours notice or less, please contact the library directly. If you need to cancel a meeting room reservation, click here.
As part of its service to the community, the King County Library System (KCLS) provides meeting rooms for use by local community groups and organizations. This policy ensures that KCLS meeting rooms are available for gatherings, the primary purpose or nature of which is civic, cultural, educational and/or of community-interest. Meeting room use will not be denied to any person or organization because of race, creed or color.
How to Reserve a Meeting Room:
Meeting room reservations may be made either online (see below) or by contacting your local community library. Reservations are accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. An application form may need to be completed and submitted in person 24 hours prior to the meeting. Please keep in mind the following guidelines when reserving a meeting room: You must accept the meeting room guidelines in order to reserve a room
The following rules govern the use of KCLS meeting rooms:
- All meetings must be open to the public at no charge and may not be restricted to any particular group. With the exception of books and other resources sold at library-sponsored or related events, no products or services may be advertised, solicited or sold.
- Fees to cover the cost of study materials used in classes, workshops, conferences and similar events can be collected by non-profit and governmental organizations; however, the purchase of study materials may not be a requirement for attendance and/or registration. Permission must be obtained in advance through the local library management.
- Reservations for meeting room space are on a first-come, first-served basis. Library-sponsored programs will have preference.
- Reservations can be made for the current month, plus two months in advance. Library buildings that are owned jointly by KCLS and another entity (e.g. Burien Library and City Hall) may have additional guidelines and/or limitations.
- Groups are limited to reserving a meeting room once per month. To ensure that meeting rooms are available to a variety of groups, KCLS libraries may limit room use for particular organizations if abuse or non-compliance is detected, or if similar types of organizations are using rooms with such
frequency that equitable use is in question.
- Library meeting rooms are only available during open hours, with the exception of rooms used for elections and library-sponsored programs. Service Center meeting rooms are available outside of normal business hours.
- Groups may not advertise that meetings are sponsored, co-sponsored or approved by the library, unless written permission is previously given by local library management.
- Meeting room applications are reviewed by library staff to ensure they adhere to KCLS policy. Local library management has the authority to accept or reject requests for use of the meeting room(s).
- KCLS will not provide storage of materials for any group.
- Groups are responsible for taking care of the meeting room and are held responsible for any damage incurred. After using a meeting room, chairs must be stacked. If food is served, utensils must be washed, garbage disposed of and the kitchenette cleaned.
- Alcoholic beverages may not be served or consumed on library property, except at special events hosted by the KCLS Foundation, Friends of the Library groups or any library related organizations or associations. These groups must obtain written permission to serve alcoholic beverages at special
events in advance by local library management and must also notify KCLS Administration.
- Groups must provide any necessary meeting equipment that is not available at the library. KCLS provides access to wireless Internet access for patrons to use with their own devices. (see instructions)
- Attendance must not exceed the posted capacity of the meeting room. Small groups may be asked to move to a smaller room if one is available.
- Groups must provide Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accommodations when requested.
- Groups will notify the library 24 hours before a meeting if it must be canceled.
- Any use of the meeting room that disturbs regular library operations is not permitted.
Failure to comply with the following rules will result in withdrawal of room reservation privileges.